Some may not know it, but companies want CIOs with cloud expertise
Technology and InnovationTechnology, Data, and DigitalExecutive Search
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January 23, 2018
Technology and InnovationTechnology, Data, and DigitalExecutive Search
Organizations know what benefits cloud computing can bring -- and they're seeking out IT leaders with cloud expertise to make them a reality.


The SearchCIO article, “Some may not know it, but companies want CIOs with cloud expertise," quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Eric Sigurdson about companies seeking CIOs with cloud computing expertise. The article is excerpted below. 

Cloud computing has opened up entirely new horizons of change. It's transformed the way people access data, making it easier for doctors to pull up clinical records on tablets, for example. It's changed the way companies pay for IT services -- trading big upfront capital expenses for monthly subscriptions. And it's sped up experimentation, allowing organizations to rent computer space on someone else's servers for an innovative new project -- instead of going through the time-consuming and expensive drill of buying a server and building the software. 

Organizations looking to equip business for the digital era would be hard-pressed not to find such changes attractive. So, how many are seeking a CIO with cloud expertise to head up IT? 

About 50%, said Eric Sigurdson, consultant at executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates. Sigurdson specializes in recruiting senior IT leaders. 

"Half of them are saying, 'You know, I really want someone who's seen the future,'" he said. 

Those are "enlightened" companies -- the ones that know what skills will bring home the goods. At the other end of the cloud spectrum are "laggards that are just happy to keep the lights on," Sigurdson said. But the allure of benefits associated with cloud -- speed, innovation, cost savings -- is proving nearly universal, motivating even those CIO-seeking business executives who don't talk about cloud expertise. 

"They may not call it cloud, but they certainly say, 'I want Agile development. I want rapid development. I want fail fast -- small teams that come up with ideas quickly,'" Sigurdson said. When presented with cloud computing as a way of getting their hands on these wish-list items, they're game, thinking, "'If we can leverage someone else's assets, so we don't have to invest in it, makes sense.'" 

Of course, seeking out third parties to manage processes not essential to the business is not new, Sigurdson said. Retailers, for example, that wanted to focus more time and energy on selling goods could outsource IT operations in the 1980s and '90s, when IBM and the now-extinct Electronic Data Systems made their IT expertise and services commercial products. Cloud computing is the next wave of IT outsourcing. What's different now is big providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, Google and others offer up "almost unlimited processing power on demand -- things that any normal corporation can't afford," Sigurdson said. 

That's introduced unprecedented opportunity to expand and grow business -- something even companies without lots of cloud expertise can understand. 

To read the full article, click here.